The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federally-funded program designed to financially assist low-income families and individuals with rental housing. The program targets low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities so that they can afford safe and sanitary housing.
Through the program, qualifying participants will receive a voucher or subsidy to find low income housing that meets Housing Quality Standards (HQS). These requirements are mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which administers the voucher program.
In Minnesota, the program is carried out by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and Housing Redevelopment Authorities (HRAs).
A voucher can go towards a rental unit where a family currently resides or it can be used in various HUD-approved single-family homes, townhomes and apartments. Typically, participants are expected to pay up t0 40 percent of their monthly household income on rent and utilities. Section 8 housing pays the remainder portion of the rent directly to the landlord.
If you are interested in this HUD housing program, you will need to have an income low enough to qualify. Continue below to learn more about the eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Discover Minnesota Section 8 Requirements
In order to receive the rental assistance you need, you will first need to meet Section 8 requirements. The government subsidy program takes a look at the following factors to determine eligibility.
- U.S. citizenship status
- History with federal housing programs
Your income must be at or below Minnesota’s income limits for you to meet Section 8 qualifications. Income limits may vary depending on the median income for the area in which you live and the number of people in your household.
Precedence is given to families with extremely to very low income. HUD defines those with very low income as households with income that does not exceed 50 percent of the median income level of their area. Typically, recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) meet Section 8 income limits.
Furthermore, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to meet Section 8 eligibility. However, you must have an eligible immigration status. This includes:
- Permeant legal residents.
- Lawful temporary residents.
- Those with official status as refugees and asylees.
Your local PHA will take into consideration your history with federal housing programs. You may not qualify for Section 8 if you have been evicted from public housing in the past.
Additionally, many PHAs give preference to people with disabilities and veterans. Other factors that help applicants meet Section 8 requirements include:
- Being homeless.
- Having children.
- Residing in a shelter.
- Being 62 years of age or older.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Minnesota
The first step to applying for the Housing Voucher Program in Minnesota is finding a housing authority in your area to fill out a Section 8 application. Due to the demand of low income housing and the limited resources available, it may take a long time to get a voucher. Therefore, it is best to apply to as many LHAs and HRAs as possible.
While each housing authority has its own Section 8 housing application form to fill out, they all generally require the same information. You can expect to be asked about:
- Your income and assets.
- Your disability status.
- Your household size and relation to each other.
After you apply for Section 8, you will be placed on a waiting list. Once you reach the top of the list, you will go through a screening process that ultimately determines your eligibility. If you pass the screening, then you will be required to attend a Section 8 Briefing.
You will be allotted a certain amount of time to find a qualifying rental unit that will accept your voucher. Once you find a unit that you like, the housing authority will inspect it to ensure that it complies with HQSs.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Minnesota
Before you can apply for rental assistance, you will need to make sure that your local PHA’s Section 8 waiting list is open. Once you have found an open list, you can apply for the program to be added onto the list. Keep in mind that waiting lists can be very long and it may take some time to receive a voucher.
It is important that you check your Section 8 waiting list status frequently. Most housing authorities update their list often to ensure that everyone on it still wants a voucher. Therefore, you must make sure that the contact information on the list is up to date so that you receive any notifications regarding your voucher.
If you cannot be reached, you will be taken off the Section 8 waiting list to accommodate another applicant. Be sure to respond to any letters you receive from your local housing authority. If certain documentation is requested of you, then you will need to provide it in a timely manner.
Additionally, it is important to ask how your local PHA’s waiting list system works. Priority is typically given to veterans and people with disabilities, so you will need to ensure that your circumstances are being considered.
Learn About Minnesota Section 8 Housing Lists
Finding low income apartments for rent that meet Section 8 housing requirements can be difficult. Not only does the rental unit need to meet HQSs, but the landlord must accept the voucher.
If you would like to stay where you currently reside, ask your landlord if he or she will be willing to accept the government subsidy. Otherwise, you may need to start looking for a rental unit that does.
Fortunately, most PHAs have a Section 8 housing list to help families find HUD-approved housing that fits their household size. Check with your local housing authority to receive assistance in finding suitable housing.